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Desperation


Baptism of the Lord, First Sunday After Epiphany

SUNDAY, January 8
Psalm 12

David writes this psalm in desperate hope for a world where his community will be safe and where people who are poor and marginalized will no longer suffer from oppression and violence. He cries out to God for protection and laments the faithlessness of humanity. In the midst of his desperation, he declares boldly that
God’s Word is true and God is faithful to keep his promises. 

The world seems to be in constant chaos, and it seems like things haven’t changed much at all since David wrote his psalms. But just as David clung to the promise of God’s faithfulness, we too are called to proclaim God’s faithfulness even in the midst of struggle. In the thick
of our desperation, we cling to a greater hope. 

God, it sometimes feels impossible to find comfort in your faithfulness when there is so much chaos in the world. Help me to remain steadfast in your Word and cling to your promises, even when it’s hard. AMEN. 

PRAYER FOCUS: BEING FULLY ALIVE IN CHRIST

 

Hope


MONDAY, January 9
Isaiah 60:19-22

This passage evokes a sense of longing and hope for God’s kingdom come—a day when there will be no more fear, no more sorrow, and no more suffering. It anticipates a day when those who follow the Lord will be secure and safe, and tomorrow’s worries will no longer trouble us. 

We often try to find security and safety in transient things. Political systems, vocations, accomplishments, and even relationships can be ways we attempt to feel secure in a tumultuous world. But in the end, God is our ultimate provider, sustainer, comforter, and defender. When everything else fails, God is our greatest hope.

God, I confess that sometimes I place my hope in things that don’t last. Remind me of the ultimate hope we have in you—that one day, there will be no more fear, no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more suffering. Help me to rest in glorious anticipation of that final day. AMEN.

 

Fulfillment


TUESDAY, January 10
Matthew 3:13-17

At the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist proclaims the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. David’s cries of desperation and Isaiah’s declaration of final hope are wrapped in the promise of God’s Word given to us in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God’s covenant
is fulfilled.

Sometimes it is hard to understand how God’s promises have been fulfilled when so much suffering still exists in the world. Perhaps David and Isaiah felt this too—firm in their conviction that God’s Word is true yet wondering when things might get a little easier. Still, they press onward in faith, assured of God’s final glory even when things look impossible.

Jesus, I am grateful that the promises of Scripture are fulfilled in you. I pray that during moments of struggle and uncertainty, I will hold fast to this truth and remember that the breadth of human history is held firmly in your hands. AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS:  SENIORS IN NURSING HOMES

 

Witness


WEDNESDAY, January 11
John 1:29-34

John the Baptist’s ministry is one of both practice and proclamation.
He does not keep the truth of the Messiah to himself but declares it to all who will hear. The story must have seemed extravagant—the Holy Spirit descending from the heavens in the form of a dove to rest upon Jesus. This man from Nazareth being declared God’s chosen One.

Our journeys of faith are not always easily understood by others. Declaring Jesus to be the Messiah and talking about the ways he has worked in our lives can feel scary when we know others might not understand. Yet we are called to declare our faith boldly and to live as witnesses of Christ’s salvation. 

God, I pray that like John the Baptist, I can proclaim the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ and be a witness of your faithfulness to the world. Help me to be filled with joy and boldness when I encounter opportunities to share my faith. AMEN.

 

Joy


THURSDAY, January 12
John 1:36-42

When Andrew decides to follow Jesus, he’s eager to tell his brother Simon about his experience. Some Scriptures say this is the very first thing Andrew does after he meets Jesus. We can imagine his excitement as he shares the good news with his beloved brother.

Although I grew up in the church, I remember clearly when my faith became “real” for me and how enthusiastic I was to share my experience of Jesus. Experiencing the depth of Christ’s love inspired within me excitement, joy, and a keen desire to share that knowledge with others. May we always remember those initial feelings of joy and rebirth that accompany our salvation, and may we seek to spread the good news of Jesus to those we love.

God, I pray that my enthusiasm and joy for spreading the message of the gospel never wanes. I pray that I would continually delight in your Word and share your love for the world with others. AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS: COVENANT GLOBAL PERSONNEL IN EUROPE 

 

Mission


FRIDAY, January 13
John 3:22-30

I have sometimes wondered why John continues to baptize people
after he performs the baptism of Jesus. Wouldn’t it have been better
if he had left everything to follow Jesus like the other disciples?

God gave John a mission, and even after it may have seemed complete, it is clear that God had still more for John to do. John continues to baptize people and proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.

In our own lives, maybe we experience times when we wonder what God is doing or why we are in a particular situation. Perhaps it’s because God is not done accomplishing what God has set out to do, and we need our eyes opened to see.

God, it is not always easy to understand what you’re doing. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear how I might partner with you in your kingdom work today. AMEN.

 

Worship


SATURDAY, January 14
Psalm 29

David declares God’s magnificence and glory, proclaiming that God is worthy of worship and praise. Despite the trials and challenges the world brings, David affirms that God ultimately reigns over human history; God’s majesty orders the created world.

We are called to worship God in times of both trial and joy, in circumstances that bring clarity, and in circumstances that are uncertain. At all times, we are called to worship. David looks at the natural world and is awestruck by how it commands God’s praise. May we also see God’s splendor and majesty in the world around us and take comfort in knowing that God is the one who orders all things.

God, may my heart be filled with worship and gladness today. I pray that I would see you working in the world around me, calling all creation to sing your praises. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: KINDNESS IN DAILY ENCOUNTERS

 

About the Author

  • Sarah Keough

    I am currently completing a one-year chaplain residency program at Meriter Hospital in Madison and hope to join the Air Force as a chaplain. I graduated seminary at Seattle Pacific University in 2016, completed a PhD in theological studies at Boston University, and was ordained to Word and Sacrament in the Covenant last year. I am passionate about empowering women for ministry and hope one day I will have the opportunity to teach at a seminary. During my doctorate program I found a love for the sport of powerlifting. I enjoy getting to know people at the gym and competing with other really strong women. I also enjoy hiking, exploring new places, drinking good coffee, and spending time with my family.

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